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Belay technique


Max Stuart · · Mountain View, CA · Joined 9 days ago · Points: 0

There is no reason to stand 15' feet from the base to see you climber make all the moves. My main concern is that you almost hit the ground after falling, period. This should be a conversation about slack while belaying too (which is affected by how far away you stand from the wall). People are way too casual about belaying. My hope is for people to be introspective enough to always improving their belay technique and not stagnate. It's never too late to drop your climber. Another note. Bad belayers in the gym are increasing risk to bystanders and the climber. Decking your friend onto someone else is always a possibility. 

Wes Mcsorley · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0

Gyms and crags are getting so crowded It may be time for some Darwinism.

Nelson Sherry · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

I haven't looked at any statistics, but I know of very few bad accidents from people not paying close enough attention on belay. Our gear and general protocols are surprisingly idiot resistant. Bad accidents seem to me to be more bad or careless choices about route, anchors, or rope placement. I know lots of stories of embarrassed and surprised belayers that lead to longer, but not catastrophic falls. I'd really like to see data about which of are bad behaviors really do lead to the most damage?

. Mobes · · MDI · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 865
Nelson Sherry wrote: I haven't looked at any statistics, but I know of very few bad accidents from people not paying close enough attention on belay. Our gear and general protocols are surprisingly idiot resistant. Bad accidents seem to me to be more bad or careless choices about route, anchors, or rope placement. I know lots of stories of embarrassed and surprised belayers that lead to longer, but not catastrophic falls. I'd really like to see data about which of are bad behaviors really do lead to the most damage?

I think a good number of accidents go unrecorded, especially gym accidents. Gyms try hard to lay low when bodies leave in ambulances for their own good.

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 1,040
. Mobes wrote:

I think a good number of accidents go unrecorded, especially gym accidents. Gyms try hard to lay low when bodies leave in ambulances for their own good.

I think gym accidents go very well recorded/documented by the gym, in case they have to produce this later in court. They just don't get reported where we can easily find this info.

But even so, I'm guessing that there are a lot more accidents outdoors that don't get reported. AAC ANAC publication is just a tip of the iceberg. The fatalities and rescues we hear about, but most accidents that are serious enough to require medical care don't involve a helicopter ride.

Most people would hobble out/get helped by other climbers and go to the ER/Urgent Care without rescue services/local police ever being the wiser. I actually just tried to count how many accidents on the level of broken/sprained ankles have I heard of/seen/helped with in the past 15 years... and I couldn't even count. Over the years I've seen everything from broken ankles to epilepsy seizures that never made it into AAC publication, or even an MP mention. In the same time frame, I have seen/heard of 3-4 local climbing gym accidents. 


Edited to add, I’m thinking specifically of accidents while roped-climbing in the gym vs outside. I definitely know more than 3-4 gym bouldering accidents. 
Carl Wernhoff · · Oslo, NO · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

Hear hear! I take pride in belaying well and safely, I hate climbing with someone who clearly doesn't see belaying as part of being a good climber.
Tell tale of bad/unaware belayer : if I just clipped the first bolt or placement and the person is standing more than 3 feet from the wall and/or have slack in the system... Like hey, my placement/bolt won't do anything for me this close to the ground with that much slack.
Max Stuart wrote: There is no reason to stand 15' feet from the base to see you climber make all the moves. My main concern is that you almost hit the ground after falling, period. This should be a conversation about slack while belaying too (which is affected by how far away you stand from the wall). People are way too casual about belaying. My hope is for people to be introspective enough to always improving their belay technique and not stagnate. It's never too late to drop your climber. Another note. Bad belayers in the gym are increasing risk to bystanders and the climber. Decking your friend onto someone else is always a possibility. 


Tom Steinbrecher · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0
Lena chita wrote:

I think gym accidents go very well recorded/documented by the gym, in case they have to produce this later in court. They just don't get reported where we can easily find this info.

But even so, I'm guessing that there are a lot more accidents outdoors that don't get reported. AAC ANAC publication is just a tip of the iceberg. The fatalities and rescues we hear about, but most accidents that are serious enough to require medical care don't involve a helicopter ride.

Most people would hobble out/get helped by other climbers and go to the ER/Urgent Care without rescue services/local police ever being the wiser. I actually just tried to count how many accidents on the level of broken/sprained ankles have I heard of/seen/helped with in the past 15 years... and I couldn't even count. Over the years I've seen everything from broken ankles to epilepsy seizures that never made it into AAC publication, or even an MP mention. In the same time frame, I have seen/heard of 3-4 local climbing gym accidents. 


Edited to add, I’m thinking specifically of accidents while roped-climbing in the gym vs outside. I definitely know more than 3-4 gym bouldering accidents. 

True, I've been involved in a rescue of a climber that required resources from the fire department's heavy rescue, however this accident never has been reported on anywhere as none of us submitted any information anywhere and the fire department was quite efficient with getting it done and getting out.


The debrief with me and my friends about it was pretty interesting, kind of just a shitty situation. Was cool to see a litter raise be used in real life versus just practice, but still shit to see someone hurt enough they're backboarded and don't know where they are
. Mobes · · MDI · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 865
Lena chita wrote:

I think gym accidents go very well recorded/documented by the gym, in case they have to produce this later in court. They just don't get reported where we can easily find this info.


 

Yeah true.I'd go as far to say way more people are dropped in gyms over outside and we could all learn from it if we had access to the info. Its odd that OSHA is quite tough on the setters at the gym who are doing their thing when nobody is around/under them yet there is no OSHA like agency to help the customers stay safe. 

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 1,040
. Mobes wrote:

Yeah true.I'd go as far to say way more people are dropped in gyms over outside and we could all learn from it if we had access to the info. Its odd that OSHA is quite tough on the setters at the gym who are doing their thing when nobody is around/under them yet there is no OSHA like agency to help the customers stay safe. 

Setters are workers, so there are work safety rules. 


But as far as customer safety, I think gyms are classified the same as amusement parks, so maybe somewhere out there there is an info on amusement park accidents, and burried in there is info on climbing gyms. I’m guessing only the accidents requiring an ambulance ride would be counted there, not most accidents. 
You may be right, there are likely more accidents involving belayers outright dropping people in the gym. But thanks to padded floors and relatively low heights more people walk off without the need for immediate medical assistance. 
Ma Ja · · Red River Gorge · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 28
Wes Mcsorley wrote: Gyms and crags are getting so crowded It may be time for some Darwinism.

The problem with this idea is that the one who needs to be "Darwined" is standing on the ground still. 

Sloppy Second · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0

Why so much hand wringing over minor gym accidents?

Climbing is a sport. There are plenty of sprained ankles and injuries of similar consequence in an adult basketball club, but I doubt there's an internet forum of basketball players whining about it.

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Sloppy Second wrote: Why so much hand wringing over minor gym accidents?

Climbing is a sport. There are plenty of sprained ankles and injuries of similar consequence in an adult basketball club, but I doubt there's an internet forum of basketball players whining about it.

Incredible.

Remind people to never have you belay them.
Sloppy Second · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0
Marc801 C wrote:

Incredible.

Remind people to never have you belay them.
Oh no! ....I got the "I'll never let you belay me" dis on MP!

#internetbelayexpert #mycatchesaresoft
not a douchebag climber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 0

IMHO....Opinions are like buttholes we all have them, they are full of poo, and they all stink. Climbing has become occupied by over-privileged dumb dumbs looking for that instaG shot,  they have more money and time than whit and grit. Lets have a pointless conversation about belay technique on a forum cus that's gonna change people's belay technique right?  

Accidents happen people are unsafe BFD, get over it. Thin out the gene pool, scare off the weak and mock the incompetent until they conform or stop climbing.  the world and the crags are overpopulated anyway.  Have accidents and keep first responders employed and busy. Complain about it more and maybe someone might start caring.  Not your pig not your farm. Figure it out bud.  

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,500
not a douchebag climber wrote: IMHO....Opinions are like buttholes we all have them, they are full of poo, and they all stink. Climbing has become occupied by over-privileged dumb dumbs looking for that instaG shot,  they have more money and time than whit and grit. Lets have a pointless conversation about belay technique on a forum cus that's gonna change people's belay technique right?  

Accidents happen people are unsafe BFD, get over it. Thin out the gene pool, scare off the weak and mock the incompetent until they conform or stop climbing.  the world and the crags are overpopulated anyway.  Have accidents and keep first responders employed and busy. Complain about it more and maybe someone might start caring.  Not your pig not your farm. Figure it out bud.  

Misnomer!

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 1,040
Sloppy Second wrote: Why so much hand wringing over minor gym accidents?

Climbing is a sport. There are plenty of sprained ankles and injuries of similar consequence in an adult basketball club, but I doubt there's an internet forum of basketball players whining about it.

Sure, climbing is a sport, and any sport comes with injuries. The difference between climbing and basketball is that one member of the team is tasked specifically with ensuring the safety of the climbing partner. When you trip and fall while trying to bounce a ball, that's on you. If you were bouldering without a spotter, fell, and sprained your ankle, that is the same as basketball player falling and skinning his knee.

But when you trust someone to catch you, and they don't, they failed at the one task that they were meant to do, and it needs to be addressed.

Of course in this particular case, it is rather silly. Yeah, the belayer should have been paying attention, and has messed up. There are couple ways the belayer could have ended up that far from the wall, since he very likely didn't start that far out.

Scenario 1: Climber is bolt-to-bolting.
"Take"-- belayer steps back a foot or two, and sits back, to take in all the slack.
"Climbing"-- belayer loosens/feeds the rope, but doesn't take  two steps forward to his starting location.
Repeat for a few cycles, then a climber takes a fall... voila!

Scenario 2: belayer slowly walking back, a step at a time, to keep his eye on the climber, and losing sight of how far he has moved, because he is only looking up, and not around.

Both of these things can happen, and if the thread was posted in beginner's forum to highlight the danger/bring awareness to this slow backward creep while belaying, it might have gotten a different reception.

Instead we got a standard MP project thread. With all the standard topic drifts and trolls. It was a close call, one of hundreds of close calls that happened on the same day in gyms across the country, probably. But nobody got hurt, hurray. The climber/belayer should have talked it over afterwards. with the belayer apologizing, and promising to be more attentive in the future. But what would we do for entertainment, if everyone were so boring and rational?

Paul Deger · · Colorado · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 36
Cole Metzger wrote:IMO I don’t think a belayer should stand that far out.  He/she should be able to give and take in slack by feel of the rope.  

Does anyone have thoughts or differences in opinion?

Cole - you clearly have a stance on this - are you looking to be talked out of it or have your opinion justified? Yes, a belayer should be able to work off the feel of the rope and there are times to have an eye on the climber. The most important piecing missing from this thread - should the belayer have to buy the first round. IMHO - yes!

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,724

Has anyone that's speculating on how crappy of a belayer this was asked how far up the route the climber was?  That generally has some bearing on how far down the climber comes haha.  I agree with what's been said with regard to every situation being different.  Usually when I'm climbing a super overhanging wall, I forego the first quickdraw, clip the second as my first point of protection, so that my belayer can stand under the first draw clipped, watching me at an angle that doesn't require one to be a contortionist, with his/her back facing the wall- this often puts the belayer ~15' away from the wall- which, in that scenario is irrelevant, (to Lena's point).  Gym climbing isn't rocket surgery.  Other than a blown clip at 1st or 2nd bolt, there shouldn't be any near decking situations, especially at modern gyms where you clip every two moves.  If the climber was all the way at the top and nearly decked, that's belayer error any way you slice it- even in a blown clip situation- especially given that it's a 60' wall.  But, talk to your belayer.  Work out what happened.  If you don't, you'll always be tenuous and never be able to climb at your limit on that belayer.  Doesn't sound fun to me.

Jonathan Rogers · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 25

I wonder if the climber was going hero style skipping clips. I have seen this often and occasionally do it. On top of that stone summits main lead wall is very steep tons of rope drag after a couple ledge/roofs at 30 degrees or so and a skip clip. 

not a douchebag climber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 0
Tradiban wrote:

Misnomer!

Good work! glad you figured it out there bud. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Sport Climbing
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